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Thursday, May 26, 2022
<p>Elizabeth Perez performs a dive in a home meet versus Georgia on Oct. 29. </p>

Elizabeth Perez performs a dive in a home meet versus Georgia on Oct. 29.

The Florida men’s and women’s swim and diving programs opened up the historic rivalry weekend in spectacular fashion Thursday and Friday with a sweep over No. 8 Georgia in Gainesville. The men’s team took 10 of 16 events to leave with a 180-120 victory. The women took half of the events and won by a tighter margin of 153-147. 

“Incredible meet for us over the last two days. Everyone stepped up and performed their best.” Head diving coach Brian Gillooly said in a release, “It was great to see my divers contribute in such a big way.” 

The men’s and women’s diving team kicked off the event Thursday evening with a dominant performance over the talented No. 8 Georgia squads. Junior Leo Garcia and Senior Elizabeth Perez both took the 1 meter and 3m diving events, and five Gators earned zone qualifying scores in both events. Garcia remains undefeated in the 3m event over three meets this season. 

The swim programs picked up where the divers left off on Friday morning, with the men taking a huge 60-point victory over a star-studded Bulldogs team with eight All-Americans and a pair of SEC champions. Sophomore Adam Chaney picked up a win in the 100-yard backstroke, and helped earn victories in both relay events. The men swept the 100- and 200-yard breast, led by senior Dillon Hillis, who placed first in both events.

On the women’s side, the Gators pulled out a slim victory over a Georgia women’s program that features six All-Americans. The most impressive performance came from Talia Bates, winning all three of her individual events and earning “B” qualifying times in the 50 and 100 free. Thirteen Gators on both the men’s and women’s roster earned “B” cuts for the NCAA Championship qualifying standard, setting them up for national championship appearance hopes later in the season. 

Despite the top-10 victory sure to elevate Florida’s national rankings and SEC Championship aspirations, head coach Anthony Nesty encouraged the team to remain focused on the busy schedule ahead. 

“We’re going to the Georgia Tech invite in three weeks, and then we have a group going to the U.S. Open,” Nesty said in a Twitter video, “We want to improve every week, and we have lots of work to do.”

The Gators are on the road again after two meets at home, heading to Tallahassee on Nov. 5 to take on Florida State at 2 p.m. 

Contact Jackson Castellano at jcastellano@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @jaxacastellano.

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